The Boscombe Pier Company opened the six hundred foot Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth, England, in 1889. Designer Archibald Smith probably couldn’t have imagined the many attractions the pier would provide for two centuries worth of vacationing families. By 1961, the pier contained a restaurant and a theatre, The Mermaid Theatre. [The name, The Mermaid Theatre, is a misnomer. For the first two seasons after it opened, it was an ice rink, and now it’s an arcade.]
Europe’s first artificial surf reef was constructed in the early aughts. [It has since been rebranded as a Costal Activity Park.] Now, The National Pier Society is combining Boscombe Pier’s longstanding reputation for providing excellent entertainment with a commitment to supporting environmental sustainability. In addition to volleyball, tennis, and swingball areas, the pier offers a mini golf course. It’s the first mini golf course in Britain that doubles as a restaurant attraction…for the fish.
The course is a standard eighteen hole golf course, zigzagging along both sides of the pier so that players may admire both sides of the promenade. The grounds, while especially lovely, have a fairly standard design for a mini golf course. It’s the balls that make Boscombe Pier’s mini golf games unique. Designed and manufactured in Germany specifically for Bournemouth Seafront, this course has been built to be ideal for the use of Ecobioballs.
Ecobioballs are the first ecological and biodegradable golf balls with fish food in their cores. When a golfer reaches his or her eighteenth hole, the ball drops into the sea, where it biodegrades in less than forty-eight hours and feeds the pier’s fish. American golf courses use similar balls for courses located on cruise ships or near marine life, but Boscombe Pier is the first British pier to use Ecobioballs.
Albus Golf, the company that originated the Ecobioball, doesn’t specialize in golfing equipment. It’s a start up technology company in Barcelona, Spain that designs, produces, and markets biodegradable, eco-friendly products for the sports, leisure, and tourism markets. So far, Boscombe Pier’s innovative use of Ecobioballs on its mini golf course has benefited the pier. Ninety-three percent of Boscombe Pier’s four hundred fifteen reviews on the vacation booking website, Trip Adviser, are positive. The pier has received more formal recognition as well. Boscombe Pier was named Pier Of The Year in 2010. It has also been lauded by The National Conservation Society for demonstrating commitment to environmental conservation. In addition, it is notable for its superior quality and its friendliness to beach goers who wish to walk their dogs.[H/T bournemouthbeach]